capercaillie skye waulking song from the album nadurra l.
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Capercaillie : ‘Skye Waulking Song’ from the album Nadurra. Folk Music. Music of the people Performed and owned by the lower classes of society, to express the way they live, used to live or local mythology. An oral tradition Played at informal occasions

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folk music
Folk Music
  • Music of the people
  • Performed and owned by the lower classes of society, to express the way they live, used to live or local mythology.
  • An oral tradition
  • Played at informal occasions
  • Not important to be a trained musician to enjoy it
  • Children are encouraged to participate in ensembles
  • Everyone is encouraged to sing along
folk music around the world
Folk music around the world
  • Found in every region of the world
  • US – Woodie Guthrie, then influencing Bob Dylan
  • Dylan wrote songs with politically charged lyrics i.e against the Vietnam War egBlowin’ in the wind
  • Folk songs with political lyrics = Protest Songs
  • South Africa = Hugh Masekelai.eThimlela
  • Electric piano, guitar and bass have been used in folk music as long as they have been used in popular music.
  • Some believe that it should only be played on acoustic instruments - Purists, as they believe folk music is traditional music, and therefore electric instruments are a betrayal of the values.
  • With the introduction of electric instruments has come a crossover of styles, known as fusion music.
  • Mingling of two or more styles, traditions and genres.
  • Eg: Bhangra (Indian Classical and Western Pop)
  • Capercaillie are a band who fuse Celtic folk music with the instruments and production values of Western popular music.
waulking songs
Waulking Songs
  • Waulking = An ancient process for making tweed more flexible and windproof
  • Songs written to make the process a more sociable occasion and to keep everyone in time.
  • One would lead the lyrics about some aspect of village life or gossip, then everyone joins in with nonsense syllables (like ‘la lala’)
  • Considered unlucky to repeat a whole verse so songs had many verses. One line is repeated, perhaps giving the leader time to think of the next line
  • Waulking process is still used in some parts of Scotland to preserve the tradition.
  • Scottish folk band founded in the 1980s by Donald Shaw and fronted by Karen Matheson.. The group originates from Oban, Argyll, a region of Western Scotland and is named after the Western Capercaillie, a bird native to Scotland.
  • Spotted as a recording act at Mull Music Festival in 1983.
  • The band recorded its first album, Cascade, in 1984. Their 1992 EP A Prince Among Islands was the first Scottish-Gaelic record to reach the UK top 40 singles chart, peaking at number 39. Another of their singles, Dark Alan reached number 65. The album Secret People got number 40, and To the Moon got to number 41. They have adapted traditional Gaelic songs and music using modern production techniques, and often mix musical forms, such as one song which combined traditional lyrics with drum and bass
  • Read Page 130 of the text book for an overview.
capercaillie continued
Capercaillie continued...
  • Karen Matheson – Vocals
  • Charlie McKerron – Fiddle
  • Manus Lunny – Guitar and Irish Bouzouki
  • Donald Shaw – Accordian, Piano, Synth
  • Michael Mcgoldrick - Flute, Whistle, Uilleann Pipes
  • Ewan Vernal – Acoustic and Electric Bass
  • James MacKintosh – Drums and Percussion
  • Each virtuosic on their own instrument and gel well as an ensemble.
  • Line up has changed over the years but this particular line up has stayed together for quite some time.
story and lyrics
Story and Lyrics
  • Tells the take of Seathan, son of the King of Ireland
  • Taken from a collection of Gaelic folk songs by Alexander Carmichael.
  • Original song was over 200 lines and would have taken over an hour to perform.
  • Capercaillie only use an extract from the Alexander Carmichael collection.
  • Original song is a lament sung by Seathan’s wife, telling of his deeds, character, time spent with him and his demise.
  • Full title is ChuirM’AthairMiseDhanTaighCharraideach(My Father sent me to a house of sorrow)

Seisd 1: Hi rihuraibhi o ho

Seisd 2: O hi a bhorohu o ho Chuirm'athairmisedha'ntaighcharraideach'N oidhche sin a rinn e bhanaisdhomhGurtruagh a Righnachb'em'fhalairidhM'an do bhrist mo lamh an t-arandhomhM'and'rinn mo sgianbiadh a ghearradhdhomhSheathainchridhenansulsocairTha do bhatanochd 's naportaibhOch, ma tha, chaneilisociarO nachrochthu, ghaoil, natoiseach.

Nonsense syllables


Important Notes

  • Harmony is less important than the melody and rhythm (4 chords in the whole song)
  • Changes in chord sequence, though infrequent, are noticeable, highlighting a change of section or mood.
  • Melodic lines are played in a folk style – Players improvise around the melody simultaneously, creating a heterophonic texture
introduction bars 1 8
Introduction: Bars 1-8
  • Sustained keyboard chord. Hinting at E minor.
  • Fiddle joins in, for effect, with a tremolo note
  • Drum entry with Keyboard 2 (Tremolo effect) – Working in counterpoint with the Bouzouki to give a sense of movement.
  • Bass plays staccato notes, working with the bass drum so almost imperceptable.
  • Chord sequence eventually established as Em – G
  • Time signature is ambiguous, possible 6/8 or 12/8 but hi-hat and shaker every 2 beats gives the impression of triple time.
verse 1 bars 9 11
Verse 1: Bars 9-11
  • Instruments play the same as the introduction
  • Voice enters with first line of the verse. Uses E minor pentatonic or G major pentatonic scale throughout
  • Voice has a characteristic lilting rhythm, working against what the other instruments are playing, making the time signature ambiguous.
break and verse 2
Break and Verse 2

Break (Bars 12-15)

Verse 2 (Bars 16-20)

  • Backing instruments continue
  • Fiddle more prominent, though concentrates more on effects than melody.
  • Voice establishes itself as the main rhythmic feature, setting the 12/8 time signature.
verse 3 and 4
Verse 3 and 4

Verse 3 (Bars 21-24)

Verse 4 (Bars 25-28)

  • Seamless continuation from V2
  • Last line is unaccompanied, serving as a link between the opening section and the next section.
  • Accordion joins in with the strummed accompaniment on acoustic guitar/bouzouki
  • Backing vocals join in for nonsense syllables, leaving main lyrics for lead vocals
  • Drums clearly in 12/8
  • Bass part more substantial
  • Chord sequence changes to C-G-Em-G to add harmonic interest.
verse 5 and 6
Verse 5 and 6

Verse 5 (Bars 29-32)

Verse 6 (Bars 33-36)

  • As verse 4
  • Accordion provides countermelodies to vocals
  • As Verse 5
instrumental bars 37 43
Instrumental (Bars 37-43)
  • Uilleann Pipes and fiddle in heterophonic texture
  • Accordion provides accompaniment and occasional melodic doubling.
  • Instruments (especially the accordion) emphasise beats 2 and 5, adding rhythmic interest.
verse 7 and 8
Verse 7 and 8

Verse 7 (Bars 44-48)

Verse 8 (Bars 49-52)

  • Chords change to Am7-Em-Em-G for one verse only.
  • Dynamics drop considerably, leaving room for lead vocals and backing vocals
  • All instruments drop out for the last line, adding to contrast as drums build up to last verse.
  • Chord sequence returns to C-G-Em-G
  • Full band plays
outro bars 53 end
Outro (Bars 53-End)
  • Vocals improvise on nonsense syllables
  • Instruments weave a counterpoint
  • Chord sequence alternates between C and G
  • Long fade out to end.
keywords define the following
Keywords: Define the following...
  • Oral tradition
  • Protest Songs
  • Fusion music
  • Waulking
  • Virtuosic
  • Lament
  • Heterophonic
  • Sustained
  • Lilting
  • Tremolo
  • Improvise
  • Counterpoint
  • Staccato
  • Pentatonic

Now answer the questions on Page 134

section b question
Section B Question
  • From which Album is this piece taken? (1)
  • Which language is this piece sung in? (1)
  • Discuss the piece under the following headings
  • The Line up
  • Lyrics
  • Harmony
  • Texture (10)

(12 marks total)